Now that I’m a seasoned parent of a 9 year old, a 7 year old and a 3 year old and have been on many a family road trip and over 9 years of family holidays (we had Amy for 2 years prior to William), I feel ready to impart some advice for anyone considering buying a family car. Some of you are here because you’re pregnant or thinking about starting a family. When we expanded and upgraded to a family of five the old estate car just wasn’t big enough. I struggled for six months in a small car before giving in and getting a people carrier. I never looked back. So if you’re expanding your family or just want to trade in the sporty model for a more family friendly one, here are the features I enjoy about our family car to give you some food for thought:
A large boot
I was very proud of how light we packed for our holiday this year. We did have help from Grandma and Grandpa though, they took our wind breaks and beach chairs… It goes without saying really, I’ve known many parents to buy the pram of their dreams and then find out they couldn’t fit it in the boot! Don’t let that be you, or at least have a go at folding it and fitting it in the boot before you buy it. Secondly, not only will your baby seem to need enough equipment for 2 weeks away just for a trip to town, just wait until you attempt a holiday together. Next level is camping with two or more children. You’re going to need a..
There’s no way you’ll get all the clothes, toys, laptop (for the times when only a Paw Patrol DVD will do when it’s raining), camping equipment, car seats, children, duvets and god knows what else inside even a very big boot so a roof rack or roof box comes in handy. Either that or a trailer.
Built in Sat Nav
What did we do before sat nav? Maps and map books, that’s what we did. My map reading skills are about on a level with the toddlers above. We had to unfold large maps in the car, decipher them even in a foreign country and have lots of arguments. Even with the sat nav now there are still arguments. I never know whether it’s left NOW or left in a minute. And who the hell knows where east and north is? Just tell me to turn right by the co-op. At least it re-routes for you. She’s a bit smug though. I’d really love a built in sat nav like my parents have in their car, then it wouldn’t be a stress to keep the phone charged.
Another feature my parents have that I aspire to. I hate parking, I have got better at it since getting a bigger car and with time. You have to be confident at parking when you only have a short time to do errands and the kids are bored, screaming or arguing. Throw hunger in and you’re asking for trouble. Having parking sensors would take the stress levels down a bit and make me worry less about pranging. Something I may or may not have been guilty of in the past.
A Dash Cam
When you’re being so careful but accidents (or idiots) happen, how awesome would it be to have a dash camera in your car to witness any incidents? If you download the Aviva Drive app to monitor your driving skills not only will it save money on your car insurance, it also comes with an integrated dash cam – for free! I’ve got mine installed.
Wipe clean seats
OK this one’s a bit of a wish list and maybe not so practical, but my car gets absolutely filthy because even on a relatively small trip, you have to keep plying them with snacks, sweets and drinks and if you’re really unlucky you get some vomit and wee thrown in for good measure. Comfort wins out in the end though. Pro tip: if your child is potty training use a puppy pad or bed saver pad in the car seat. My mum’s car has heated seats, bum warmers. It’s the height of decadence.
What are your essential features for a family car? Let me know in the comments, what is yours missing?
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.